During the season, Love shifts his emphasis from “workouts to stay lean” to “workouts to stay healthy.” His training sessions are shorter, and he places a stronger emphasis on recovery. Derek Millender, the Cavs’ strength & conditioning coach, says, “Kevin is a forward in this league, and maybe some would say he’s undersized. So we have to make sure he’s doing the necessary things to keep his body ready for the court.”
His less intense in-season training sessions don’t come naturally to the diligent Love. “Kevin is one of our hardest workers,” Millender says. “I actually have to slow him down a little bit.”
Learn more about how Love approaches the game.
The calves, IT bands, quadriceps and hamstrings are all targeted. “There’s no prescribed amount of time,” Millender says. “It’s all based on how he feels. If he felt something tight or uncomfortable, he would hold that spot for about 20 seconds, then he’d start working above and below it. ”
Using light resistance, pull the bands or ropes straight overhead (I), diagonally up (Y) and straight to the side of your shoulders (T). This works the scapula, rotator cuff and other important areas in the upper back and shoulder. Perform 5-10 reps.
Hip Pointer Stretch with Band
Loosens up the hips and upper leg. Hold for 30 seconds.
Physioball Side-Lying Hip Abduction
Use your heel to hold a physioball off the ground against a wall. Gently roll the ball up and down using your heel. “That’s to get the gluteus medius firing,” Millender says. “If that’s strong and working properly, it can help protect the knee.” Do 10 reps for each leg.
Single-Arm, Single-Leg RDL Row with Versapulley
Balance on your left leg holding the pulley in your right hand at shoulder height. With your standing leg slightly bent and your back flat, bend forward at the waist until your arm is fully extended, then flex your glute to extend your hip and return to the upright position, rowing the pulley back toward your torso as you stand.
Coach Says: “The Versapulley is a unique tool because it works on reactive strength. Whatever you create concentrically, you have to be able to control that eccentrically.”
TRX Inverted Row
Hold the handles of the TRX straps with your palms facing in. Keeping your core engaged, pull yourself up until your chest is even with your hands. Lower to the starting position and repeat.
Coach Says: “This is just a basic bodyweight movement. It helps build grip strength and upper-back strength. Bodyweight movements are good to use in-season because they aren’t as taxing as a dumbbell or a bar exercise.”
Performed on a rope machine (which provides an endless revolving rope), this movement is simple. Get in an athletic stance and pull the rope down using a hand-over-hand movement.
Coach Says: “This move also builds grip strength, which is important to a guy like Kevin who is a big-time rebounder. It also develops core strength.”
Sets/Reps: 2×20 seconds
Dumbbell Deficit Reverse Lunge
Stand on a 6- to 8-inch box holding a dumbbell in each hand. Keep your shoulders engaged down and in. Step back with one leg, bending the other so that the knee of your lower leg almost kisses the floor. Push through your standing leg to return to the starting position.
Coach Says: “This is a great movement to work on hip strength and quad stability.”
Sets/Reps: 2×10 each side
Place your feet facing down inside the TRX handles and set your forearms on the ground beneath your shoulders. Engage your core to elevate your body into a plank position. For an additional challenge, use your forearms to slide your body forward and backward.
Coach Says: “Try to maintain a parallel position [to the floor] throughout.”
Sets/Reps: 2×30 seconds (or 10 forward-back rocks)